Families who visit The Family Place will now have a wider variety of books to share together thanks to grants from St. Philip Episcopal Church and Pisgah Health Foundation. Erin S. Drew, executive director at The Family Place applied for the grants earlier in the year to help both the Brevard and Rosman locations diversify their permanent libraries. Children’s program leaders, Melissa Heywood and Keli’i Rabbit Krueger regularly borrow books from the Transylvania County Library and Smart Start’s Lending Library, but were excited to choose new titles to add to their bookshelves. “Children love to hear the same stories over and over, building our collection of books means that kids can come in every week and hear their favorite stories” Krueger shared. As a small non-profit agency much of the toys and books in the playrooms have been donated to The Family Place. It was a joy to pick out some really beautiful books to share with generations of children to come. Heywood shared, “It is so important for children to see themselves in the stories we share with them.” Books were chosen to include diverse ages, socio-economic statuses, races, cultures, ethnicities, abilities, family structures, and geographic locations. Special care was taken to pick books created by a diverse group of authors and illustrators. New books include titles such as Wrinkles, by JR a photo book celebrating the lines and creases that come with age, and Brown Sugar Babe, written by Charlotte Watson Sherman, illustrated by Akem, a picture book celebrating the multitude of shades of brown in the world and people in it.
The National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC) explains, “Books can be mirrors in which children see and savor images and representations similar to their own lives and experiences. They can also be windows that enable young readers to gain new cultural perspectives by peering into others’ worlds.” The Family Place is committed to supporting all families, and part of this is providing stories that represent as many different families as possible.